Understanding the states of matter and how they change is a foundational science skill. After all, you might not understand how milk turns to butter or ice cream is made without it! Of course, having engaging states of matter activities ensures that our middle schoolers are engaged and locking these concepts into their long-term memory. I want to share some of my favorite states of matter activities that have made an impact in my classroom!
#1 Guided Notes
Guided notes are a great way to introduce a topic. This Changes in States of Matter Guided Notes guides students through the lesson, includes understanding checkpoints throughout, and has a summative assessment at the end. Guided notes are a great introductory states of matter activity because they set the foundation for the unit.
#2 Digital Activities
Digital activities don’t have to be boring and dull. These Digital States of Matter Activities are interactive and hands-on, so students can have fun while practicing states of matter. I love to use these in stations, as an independent activity after a lesson, or as an early-finisher activity.
#3 Ice Cream Lab
You’ll definitely have every student’s attention with this ice cream lab! Students love all things food, and this Ice Cream in a Bag experiment brings together food and science. With this activity, you can talk about changes in states of matter that the mixture goes through. This lab makes for a fun states of matter activity that students will remember for a long time!
If you don’t find time for this lab during your changes in states of matter unit, give it a try during your thermal energy unit.
These Changes in States of Matter stations are great for helping you differentiate instruction and get students up and moving. Each station is six to eight minutes, and students will perform mini-labs, do some research, create something, and more.
#5 Choice Board
This fun states of matter activity is one of my favorite end-of-unit projects. The States of Matter Choice Board allows students to showcase what they know in unique and creative ways, like designing an experiment or creating a comic strip.
#6 Task Cards
Task cards make for fun states of matter activities, especially to encourage collaboration between pairs or groups of students. These States of Matter task cards are editable and can used as a quick review, exit ticket question, stations, and more.
Want something really hands-on? Have students model the changes in states of matter using clay! Students will create “molecules” with clay that show what happens when heat is added or removed. Putty and PlayDough also work great for this, and it’s less messy.
#8 Matter Case Studies
As teachers, our biggest hope is that students take what they learn into the real world. Have students explore real-world case studies such as the behavior of matter in outer space, cooking processes, or the water cycle. Then, they can write a paper or present their findings.
#9 Debates on Matter
Middle schoolers love to debate. This is by far one of my favorite states of matter activities because students get really into it. Have students debate on topics related to states of matter, such as whether oobleck or shaving cream is a solid, liquid, or gas. You’ll get some crazy answers.
#10 PhET States of Matter Simulation
Add some visuals to your states of matter unit with a PhET simulation. This simulation will let students see what happens when molecules are exposed to the heat and cold. They can also watch molecule behavior as pressure is applied.
Want more states of matter activities? Grab the Changing States of Matter Bundle. This resource includes mini-lessons, guided notes, assessments, warm-ups, activities, and more to help you create a well-rounded unit!